Act 2 Scene 2

Plot

On the radio, Velvet Underground’s ‘Candy says’ is playing in the background while Lewis practises some of Ferrando’s lines. Lewis leaves the theatre in order to find a broom while coincidently, Lucy walks in and reads his script, finding it ridiculous that a man would ‘ruin [himself] / For a worthless woman’ [pg 69]. Lewis enters, surprised at Lucy’s presence. She is ready to take him to the moratorium meeting but Lewis refuses, explaining that the patients need him more. Lucy, stunned at his decision believes that ‘working with these people has changed you. We used to talk about…important things’ [pg 70], a reference to politics.  Lewis argues that Mozart’s work is ‘about important things – like love and fidelity.’ Annoyed at Lewis’ choice, Lucy states that she is going to Nick’s rehearsals. She defends Nick since he is ‘doing a play that’s relevant and he’s doing something about the war in Vietnam.’ Seeing Lucy’s change in stance, Lewis asks if she is having an affair with Nick. She replies ‘I have sex with him and sleep with you’ [pg 71], leading Lewis to see the truth in Mozart’s opera, ‘Women’s constancy is like the Arabian Phoenix. Everyone swears it exists, but no one has seen it.’

Doug enters, and upon seeing Lewis’ surprise, explains that he escaped from C ward. Doug spills that Lewis has had an affair with Julie to Lucy, who sarcastically replies ‘and your holier than thou attitude.’ Lewis retorts that he has not had sex with Julie. Lucy ‘storms out’ [pg 72]; Lewis tells Doug to ‘go burn a cat.’ Roy enters, unaware of the incident. Upon seeing a ‘glum Lewis’ zestfully says, ‘cheer up, old son. It’s time for the music of the spheres!’

Analysis

The song, ‘Candy says’ by Velvet Underground was written about Candy Darling, a transsexual. The lyrics describe the period when Candy was struggling with his sexuality and ‘hat[ed] big decisions.’ This is analogous with Lewis’ decision to help the patients, rather than to support the moratorium.

His role as Ferrando also highlights his skepticism about Lucy’s loyalty, since Ferrando ponders about his wife’s potential infidelity. Lucy’s reaction to the script demonstrates her lack of interest in love and fidelity. Her belief that there are more ‘important things’ [pg 70] drives the two apart. Although Lewis is unfaithful to Lucy, his condemnation of Lucy’s infidelity highlights men’s double standards. This double standard is also shown in Così Fan Tutte, when the men are outraged by the wives’ disloyalty, yet believe their deception is acceptable. It is perhaps a reflection of society, in which male dominance existed. Yet the beginnings of a change in the social hierarchy are demonstrated through Lucy, who mocks Lewis and is proud that she is a woman into free love.

While Lucy and Lewis’ relationship has deteriorated, Roy and Lewis’ have progressed. Upon seeing Lewis upset, Roy attempts to cheer him up by ‘put[ting] his arm around Lewis’ shoulder’ [pg 72]. The friendship between Lewis and the patients signifies how both parties have helped each other through the project; for Lewis, a development in understanding and insight; for the patients, a chance to be accepted by others and also an improvement on their mental health.

Important Quotes

“Are you raving?/ Why would you ruin yourself / For a worthless woman?’  [pg 69]

‘Can’t do that either. I got special permission to rehearse Così after they’ve had dinner.’

‘They need me.’

‘I’m not going to let them down.’ [pg 70]

‘Working with these people has changed you. We used to talk about things. Important things. Now all you can talk about is reactionary drivel like Cosi Fan Tutte.’

‘It’s about important things – like love and fidelity.’

‘How to understand how capitalism exploits the working class is important. How to stop the war in Vietnam is important. How to make a piece of theatre meaningful and intelligent, like Brecht does, is important. After bread, a shelter, equality, health, procreation, money comes maybe love. Do you think the starving masses give a fuck about love? Love is an emotional indulgence for the privileged few.’

‘Without love the world wouldn’t mean much.’

‘Lewis, get a grip on yourself. You’ve always mistaken lust for love. Look at this theatre, a burnt-out wreck. A bloody great hole in the ceiling. An opera with just a piano and performed by mad people. About what? Two wealthy couples worried about fidelity.’

‘…He’s doing a play that’s relevant and he’s doing something about the war in Vietnam. After rehearsals we’ll go on to the moratorium meeting. It’s going to be huge. Absolutely huge. The biggest protest ever seen in Australia.’

‘I have sex with him and sleep with you.’ [pg 71]

‘Ever heard of a man who is faithful?’

‘Women pretend they’re true and faithful/Because that’s what men want us to say. That’s how they want us to be, even if they’re not true and faithful themselves.’

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